20 down and treatment finished!

Yipeeeee I’m finished! I never imagined that it would go so quickly!

Everyone on the bus celebrated today and they even got me a card to wish me well. Its like we were all part of some summer holiday and even though each person leaving meant they are getting better we all will miss each other!

I am exhausted. Struggling to keep my eyes open as all that travelling and zapping has finally caught up with me.   My armpit is so red, so sore and the skin has cracked too so I cant really do much at all.    My doctor has recommended I take it easy for a while as it will take a while for me to heal. So no swimming or partying for me just yet..

He also confirmed I will not be needing chemotherapy! YAY!!  He said that chemo is only given to stage 4 metastatic melanomas and that I am stage 3. He said it was from my original melanoma on my back that it transferred to my lymph nodes.  He said I could choose to have interferon drugs however this would be over the period of a whole year and it will decrease my quality of life quite a lot so I will have to seriously consider this.   He also said I have a 50% chance of reacurrence too.  This is scary but I try too look at it as though my cup is half full as opposed to half empty!  I will be monitored every 3 months for a year, every six months for two years after that and then once a year for 10 years after that! He said melanoma is more likely to return in the same place where it appeared already which is why they treat it with radiotherapy as this reduces the chance of this happening by 40%.    He also said that I need to hold off having more kids for now. This is cause pregnancy reduces the immune system and if melanoma will come back its normally within 2-3 years.  I am never to go in the sun again.  I am to wear a hat and SPF 50 minimum and must keep my body covered with long sleeves especially my back that is covered with moles.  So no waltzing around in the sun for me.   This doesn’t mean Ill be wearing jumpers in the summer, it just means I’ll be extra careful from now on.   I think I will be investing on an SPF top from http://www.lioninthesun.com/ as they have adult sized ones too!

All in all he was very helpful and I am very very satisfied by the Bank of Cyprus Oncology unit as well as the Pasykaf in Paphos.

Thank you to all my friends on the bus, all my friends on facebook, my husband and family and to all of you who prayed for me and wished for me and thought of me these past few months. God bless you.

From melanoma free Alethea 🙂

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christine Sanderson
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 07:33:12

    Hi Alethea,

    Once again I have been “scouring,” the net regarding melanoma stories (successful ones I always hope!) and have read your battle.
    My husband was advised by a local GP that there was nothing to worry about the mole on his shoulder, (this was some time in 2006.) Then in August 2009 whilst having a medical check up for work, (and due to my constant nagging,) he asked another GP to take a look at the mole. The second doctor felt it was nothing to worry about but queried why David gave an exasperated sigh. When told that his wife kept “harping,” about the mole the GP wisely decided to remove. You will appreciate our horror the following week when the results came back MELANOMA. David was then scheduled to attend Peter Mac in Melbourne, one of Australia’s leading cancer hospitals for a wider excision, the original melanoma was only 1cm. All came back clear (or so we thought!) a reprieve only of six months before another lump appeared in a similar spot on his shoulder in March 2009. When removed another diagnosis this time of recurrent melanoma, but clear margins….. A barrage of tests followed – CT scans, Pet scans, MRI’s and two sentinel node biopsies. Again all came back clear, but the surgeon was still concerned about two hot spots under the right armpit. As we were going on an overseas holiday the medical team suggested we have the holiday as planned, but have more scans immediately on our return. This we did and the new Pet scan showed slightly more heat in the same spots as the previous scan. Surgery for removal of the sentinel nodes followed, which resulted in two of the four sentinel nodes having melanoma present. A total clearance of the axilliary was scheduled with nineteen nodes being removed in total. Melanoma being present in only the first two (did I say only???) Options were then given, Interferon is not really promoted by the Medical Teams in Melbourne due to it’s adverse effects. A Clinical trial was promoted, but one in every three patients received a placebo drug, (our luck to be the chosen guinea pig!!) David opted for radiation treatment which from memory was 23 sessions or there abouts. This he completed in November 2009, (and can you believe he worked through it????) This was to the amazement of all the doctors…. determination plus!!!! Since November 2009 we have been proactive and have a diet more prevalent in fruit and vegs than before, linseeds are another addition to the diet as is tumeric. Not to forget a daily glass of organic carrot juice. From a person who constantly suffered from colds, up to the time of writing David has not caught one… His check ups are every three months and the next one is scheduled for early September. Routine scans are not part of his program Dr. John his oncologist believes in general health being the best predictor.

    I must say in closing you are the only person I have contacted regarding our battle, David remains extremely positive, and doesn’t dwell on what might be. As the carer I seem to cope less, but feel very proactive with being in control of our dietary intake.

    I wish you well.

    Very warm regards,

    Chris

    Reply

    • Mrs Ayres
      Aug 15, 2010 @ 17:26:00

      Hi Chris
      Many thanks for sharing your story. I am glad your husband is keeping the melanoma at bay. Its a horrible thing to deal with and you are both doing great. I find a healthy lifestyle is defo the way forward too. I have cut out pork and chargrilled food from my diet and eating more fruit and veg too. I also drink carrot juice but not as often, perhaps I should from now on.
      Take care and dont worry about not always being strong, we are only human. 🙂 xx

      Reply

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